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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Student Lawsuit Comes Alongside Potential Dismissal

Adam Semprevivo (COL ’20) filed a lawsuit against Georgetown University Wednesday, as the university announced its intent to rescind his admission and dismiss him and one other student from the school in connection with the admissions bribery scheme.

Semprevivo is suing Georgetown for a wrongful disciplinary process following the university’s intent to dismiss him and one other student. (Full disclosure: Semprevivo previously served as a cartoonist for The Hoya.) The Department of Justice indicted 50 people, including parents of university students and administrators of college entrance exams, in the admissions bribery case March 12. Semprevivo’s father Stephen Semprevivo and former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst were both included in the indictment.

@GEORGETOWNUNIVERSITY/INSTAGRAM | The university announced that it informed two students that it intends to rescind its admission and dismiss them from Georgetown in a public statement Wednesday.

Semprevivo’s father pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud May 7 after paying an intermediary $400,000 to have Ernst designate his son as a tennis recruit in the admissions process, according to the indictment.

Georgetown imposed an undue disciplinary process in choosing not to follow its disciplinary procedures when deciding against Semprevivo, according to the lawsuit. Semprevivo, who claims he was not aware of his father’s payment, is imposing an injunction to prevent Georgetown from enforcing academic discipline, including expulsion, against him and revoking his academic credits from his three completed years at the university, according to the lawsuit.  

The prosecution at Semprevivo’s May 7 hearing presented email evidence of instructions William “Rick” Singer, who led the college admissions scheme, sent to Semprevivo and both of his parents about his application essay which falsely claimed Semprevivo played tennis, according to USA TODAY.

Semprevivo is arguing the university is depriving him of due process, and that its disciplinary actions constitute a breach of contract, according to the suit.

Georgetown did not abide by its Honor Council System Procedures, which serve as a contract between students and Georgetown, in not following the university’s disciplinary process for Semprevivo, according to the lawsuit.

The HCSP, however, did not apply to Semprevivo, because his application to Georgetown was falsified before he was enrolled as a student, according to an April 15 email listed in the lawsuit from Georgetown’s lawyer Adam Adler to Semprevivo’s counsel.

Submitting inaccurate information on the Georgetown application qualifies students for expulsion, according to university spokesperson Meghan Dubyak.

“Knowingly misrepresenting or falsifying credentials in an application can be cause for rescinding the admission of the student and dismissal from Georgetown,” Dubyak wrote in a Wednesday statement. “Today, we informed two students of our intent to rescind their admission and dismiss them from Georgetown.”

Dubyak declined to name the students whose admissions were revoked, making it publicly unknown if Isabelle Henriquez (COL ’20), whose parents were also named in the March 12 indictment, is the second student Georgetown intends to dismiss.

Singer pleaded guilty to four charges including racketeering conspiracy March 12. Singer’s college consulting company assisted student admission into universities including Yale University and Stanford University by facilitating bribes collected from parents that he distributed to college coaches.

Semprevivo applied to Georgetown with a 1980 SAT score and a 4.067 weighted high school GPA, according to the complaint. While Singer did not assist Semprevivo on his academics or scores, he made arrangements with Ernst for Semprevivo to be falsely designated to the tennis team. Singer also submitted Semprevivo’s Georgetown application and typed his name into the signature box, according to the lawsuit.

“Singer submitted Semprivivo’s application to Georgetown and typed in Semprevivo’s name in the signature block. At no time did Semprevivo ever sign the application,” the lawsuit said.  

David Kenner, Semprevivo’s attorney, hopes Semprevivo can either remain at Georgetown or leave the university with his three years worth of credit, according to NBC News.

“Failing to get him back into Georgetown, we want him to be able to leave with credits intact with no negative reference in his transcripts,” Kenner said in an interview with NBC. “We don’t want three years wasted of his life.”

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  • G

    Gtown AlumAug 7, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Georgetown isn’t gonna be clean until they fire Jack DeGioa and reorganize the university completely.

    Internal controls and accountability at the university are a joke.

    Example: Former Professor Yossi Shain used $50,000 of University Funds for personal travel back and forth between Israel and the USA.

  • O

    OnlookerJun 2, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    It appears that Adam Semprevivo wants to be an exception to a very basic tenet in Western law — one cannot benefit (directly or indirectly) from the proceeds or the results of a crime. He would likely lose his lawsuit just on this ground.

    Secondly, he (not Singer) per the federal charging documents against his father sent an email to Ernst about his tennis prowess and how he “hopes” to play tennis, in which email (sent in August 2015) Adam Semprevivo claims to have had a summer of “terrific success in doubles” ! So Adam *knew* he was a putative tennis and not a basketball recruit and his claims of “innocence” are hollow.

    Yes, Georgetown did not dismiss him when it forced Ernst to resign but that may been because the school was aware of the coach’s not abiding by atheletic recruitment guidelines but was unaware of the crimes of bribery perpetrated by Ernst.

    Finally, his credentials aren’t so outstanding as to have earned him a place at Georgetown without his father’s actions.

    Had Adam Semprevivo been contrite and remorseful he may have earned my sympathy. But suing your father’s victim and displaying the attitude of entitlement does not sit well with me. He simply cannot expect to benefit as a result of a crime.

  • L

    LarryMay 23, 2019 at 10:28 am

    It is unfortunate that Adam was caught up in this mess, but I don’t see where he is owed ‘due process.’ Due process is a legal process that someone is appropriating for their use. Georgetown, as a private institution, can choose to remove Adam or not. But this entire mess has highlighted what many have known for a long time; money talks. Adam may or may not have had prior knowledge, but his admission is now in question, as are the admissions of all others whose parents took these extraordinary and illegal steps. Federal law will hopefully deal with the parents. The schools can argue they knew nothing about what was happening, but if they want to prove they have the ethical high ground there is no choice but to remove any and all students who benefited from the bribery. Otherwise, those who are not admitted or not situated financially as well as the Semprevivos’ apparently are will see this as just another in their schools corporatization/corruption. Georgetown has enough corporatization to deal with without trying to explain this away.

  • M

    Mickey LeeMay 16, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    The problem with criminals like Adam Semprevivo is that they think that they can use their socioeconomic leverage to portray themselves through the media to be the victims. We are not going to be your Judge Aaron Persky to your Brock Turner.

    PERPETRATORS CANNOT BE THE VICTIMS NOR SHOULD THEY BE PORTRAYED AS SUCH! The actual victims are the students, alum, faculty, staff, and applicants who were denied a rightful place at Georgetown because of criminal frauds like Semprevivo. These scum deserve no place in our esteemed institution, and it thoroughly cheapens our degree and institution to even be associated with frauds like Semprevivo, Henriquez, Schuyler Hodge, and the 9 or so others who cheated their way into Georgetown.

    If plagiarism can lead to rescinding of degrees, outright fraudulent admission is more than enough grounds for the same.

    For Georgetown to be clean, administrators need to rescind degrees from the ALL involved in the scandal. Semprevivo and the other student is a good start. Now, GU needs to continue erasing the other stains from its history.

    • A

      Alum NHSMay 25, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      So first, there is absolutely no equivalency between rape and cheating college admissions. Your comparison diminishes the gravity of rape and is an insult to survivors.

      Second, everything hinges on whether Adam Semprevivo knew the role his dad played in cheating admissions. If he was referred to the admissions office as a tennis recruit, but his own application didn’t reflect any tennis experience whatsoever, then why didn’t Georgetown admissions notice the huge discrepancy? They are complicit at worst or incompetent at best.

      I believe his degree should be rescinded, and I also have no sympathy for the other Georgetown student caught cheating admissions because she clearly did know.

      But I also sympathize if his side of the story holds out. There is every indication, based on his application, to believe that he didn’t knowingly cheat his way into Georgetown. If that is the case, and he woke up one day to find his life ruined and his name permanently tarred, then I feel bad even as I realize he must be expelled.

      Finally, don’t get so angry. You seem to be led by your own emotion and not reason, and that’s rarely a good mix for decision-making.